Salon‘s Andrew O’Hehir has written a sage and historically comprehensive overview of the occasional conflicts that have arisen between impudent critics and tough-minded publicists, and particularly about the recent Greenberg vs. Armond White brouhaha, which ended yesterday when everyone learned that White would be seeing Greenberg this Friday.
“Although the charges and counter-charges in this case are pretty salacious, the furor is only partly about White and Baumbach. It’s also about the uneasy symbiosis between film critics and the movie business, two organisms that feed off each other in an awkward dance of privilege, access and manipulation. L’affaire Greenberg is also heartening to many film journalists, in a peculiar way. It suggests, in the face of all available economic evidence, that what we do still matters.”
Thursday morning update: Village Voice critic Jim Hoberman provided photo-copy proof Wednesday afternoon that White did in fact suggest that his issues with Baumbach might been solved by “retroactive abortion.” As Hoberman writes, “[This] notorious statement was…the punch line of White’s review of Baumbach’s second feature, Mr. Jealousy, which suggested that the filmmaker’s mother should have gotten an abortion. Because this was published in the pre-internet days of 1998, some have dismissed it as an urban myth.
“Uh-uh. White wrote it and, thanks to the New York Public Library — where the above clipping was found earlier today — it will live online forever.
“White himself has suggested that the abortion quote was apocryphal. After Dart told Page Six this morning that the critic was uninvited ‘because he had made nasty comments about Noah, including calling him a [bleep]hole and saying his mom should have had an abortion,’ White denied what he termed ‘responsibility.'”